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'U.S. paying thrice the amount for NATO supplies after Pak blockade'

Washington , Thu, 28 Jun 2012 ANI

Washington, June 28 (ANI): Moving supplies to NATO troops in Afghanistan through Central Asia costs three times as much as routes through Pakistan, which Islamabad shut seven months ago in response to a deadly NATO air raid along the Pak-Afghan border which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, a senior U.S. officer has said.

"On the ground, it is almost three times more expensive to come from the north as it does from Pakistan. More expensive and slower," the Daily Times quoted Vice Admiral Mark Harnitchek, director of the Defense Logistics Agency, as saying.

NATO now uses an alternative network of northern routes that passes through Russia, Central Asia and the Caucasus.

Transporting a container from the U.S. to Afghanistan costs about 20,000 dollars, he said, adding that the cost of ferrying cargo to Karachi and then over roads to the Afghan border amounts to only a third of that price.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said earlier this month that the Pakistan border closure is costing the U.S. an additional 100 million dollars a month.

Before the route cut-off, about 30-40 percent of the fuel used by coalition forces came through Pakistan. Fuel is now transported over land via the northern routes, while food is flown in on cargo aircraft, he said. (ANI)

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